When you bring up Amazon to a reseller, you can get some very polar reactions. On one hand, you have retailers with a strong dislike for Amazon – either from being kicked off their platform, issues with FBA, or through sheer sales competition. On the other, you have those who’ve chosen to embrace Amazon for what it is and use it to their advantage – with high pay-offs.
The reality is that Amazon is unavoidable. The Everything Store is exactly that – a store which you can leverage to place your products in front of a very qualified and large audience of shoppers. To be successful on the ultra-competitive Amazon Marketplace, however, you need to be armed with a sophisticated and comprehensive selling strategy.
Under the Q&A spotlight today is our very own Pat Petriello, a huge influence and driver of our all new Amazon Sales Acceleration Program (a.k.a. ASAP). Before joining CPC Strategy, Pat was a team member at Amazon Seller Services and also led marketplace strategy for iPhone accessory giant, Skinit.com.
Talk to us a bit about your experience at Amazon. What did you learn there about how merchants approach the Marketplace?
Pat: One of the key takeaways from my experience at Amazon is that even the most successful merchants on the marketplace have pain points and elements of their channel operations that are not yet optimized. Whether it was creating content, enhancing catalog discoverability, repricing, getting the most out of FBA, providing top-tier customer service, understanding the inputs that drive Buy Box share; very few merchants were harnessing the full potential of Amazon’s vast user base.
There is a gap between those merchants which are simply selling on Amazon and those which are truly moving the needle for their businesses through a strategic marketplace approach.
Highly open-ended question coming your way – What does it take to be a successful Amazon Marketplace seller?
Pat: While it oftentimes does feel like a black box to many merchants, success on the Amazon marketplace is driven by the same channel specific, detail oriented approach that results in growth through retailers’ other online channels. Selling on Amazon isn’t rocket science, but a merchant isn’t going to be successful simply by showing up and listing their products.
The channel is unique and Amazon customers have a very high level of expectation with regards to pricing, delivery, and service that might be different from what a merchant is accustomed to. From fulfillment to pricing to title optimization, high performance on Amazon is the result of a dedicated channel-specific strategy.
What’s the Amazon Sales Acceleration Program (ASAP)? Who does it make sense for and in a nutshell, how can it be helpful?
Pat: Put simply, the Amazon Sales Acceleration Program is intended to aid online retailers launch and grow their Amazon Marketplace businesses. There are already some fantastic technology tools on the market for handling order consumption, inventory management, dynamic repricing, and listing creation.
Where ASAP provides value is helping merchants to understand the levers that drive performance and to execute a strategy to maximize channel profitability. We will work with merchants to make those technology recommendations or to get the most of their existing tools.
Let’s get specific. What are the different aspects of Amazon selling that ASAP will analyze and provide help on?
Pat: ASAP has value to sellers already selling on Amazon as well as to those merchants which have yet to launch on the marketplace. For sellers which are not yet on Amazon, ASAP provides step-by-step navigation of the registration and launch process to ensure that a merchant and their catalog is best positioned from day 1.
For existing Amazon sellers, ASAP focuses on the concepts of discoverability and buyability applied strategically across a merchant’s product catalog. At its core, the goal is to drive incremental sessions to those products that will most benefit from a traffic increase and to enhance Buy Box ownership share for those products which are already being discovered at a high rate. ASAP also provides assistance in operational areas such as account health, FBA strategy, feedback, policy violations, customer service, inventory allocation, and Amazon reports.
Any way for current or aspiring Amazon sellers to see if this makes sense for them?
Pat: Yes, an existing seller can have their selling account run through an ASAP audit to determine pain points and areas for optimization. For aspiring sellers, there is a discussion around their goals for selling on Amazon and the products they are bringing to market. Thanks!